Winds of change

I recently had a discussion with Gonçalo (no need to click the link – his blog is about as active as the Sahara desert) regarding how or if we humans can get ourselves out of this mess we’ve put ourselves in: unsustainable economy, overpopulation, fossil fuel dependence, and resource depletion – only to mention a few.

I think we both came to the conclusion that the situation is already beyond any controlled solution. Not saying that we are helplessly going towards extinction, but the necessary changes will arrive in a much less pleasant fashion, such as by war, a worldwide epidemic, or famine.

With the recent developments in Ukraine, I can’t help recalling this discussion. And even if a European conflict may not spread worldwide, Sweden is all too close and strategically located to stay unaffected.

Times may be changing. Where do we stand once such changes have passed?

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3 thoughts on “Winds of change

  1. Arthur: All my life I’ve had this strange feeling that there’s something big and sinister going on in the world.
    Slartibartfast: No, that’s perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone in the universe gets that.
    – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    You do know that I disagree with that idea that the world is “doomed”. I’ve tried reading up on the idea of post-scarcity and I must tell you that I couldn’t find any resource that I thought was spot on. Instead I present you with a brief summary of my ideas. We are reaching a “Near post-scarcity” era, where some (but not all) resources will be “limitless”. The two resources that I see that happening to are water and energy. Energy will be the first one, as in the near future some places will start being self-sustainable in terms of energy production/consumption. These places will have access to water purification/renewal technology, which will allow for water to be the next post-scarcity resource.
    With this 2 resources it will be more or less possible to produce food and transform materials (through industry). The only problem left is materials, which will have to be renewable. I could see biologically produced sustainable materials as an alternative. (e.g. http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-08/16/biomaterial-revolution )
    Regarding the population growth, like Hans Rosling said: http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_on_global_population_growth.html
    Hope I didn’t forget anything.

    • Haha, the Slartibartfast quote is spot on. Really.

      Regarding the doom:
      First of all I emphasize in the post that I do not think that the human species or the world is coming to an end. But I do think that we will decrease drastically in numbers – one way or another. And I just cannot agree with your idea of a post-scarcity era, at least not without first having a drastic decrease in population numbers. We may (soon) have the know-how and technology to produce energy, water, and goods sustainably, but we are already too many on the planet, and too dependent on billion-years-old energy (fossil fuels) and unsustainable economic systems (infinite growth and consumerism) to rely on this technology.
      Once the human population has decreased to whatever number (in which I’m not gonna speculate), we can hopefully start a new society with a sustainable living. That could be the start of your so-called post-scarcity era.

  2. I’m just now actually reading a book which describes a vision of the future society. Their description appeals to me, because it makes a lot of sense. And I really like it that your words, both in the post and the comment, are very similar to what the book is saying. Their idea is that after wars of all kind and thoughtless handling of resources have caused a major decline in population, people will need to learn how to live more in tune with nature in order to survive. The remaining few who do so early enough to live through armageddon, will start managing themselves in small communities. And they suggest that the outcome will be something that combines the best from the old and the new – the rural close-to-nature communities and modern technology, and both good and bad lessons learned from prior lifestyle. I can see Tiago’s visions of energy and water fitting in there too.

    But as you said in your original post, Andreas, there is so much more wrong with our society, than just the overpopulation and resource abuse. My personal pain point is the modern lifestyle model – every day I see more clearly, how it halts the evolution of the human species. I do think we are headed for doom, but we fail to see it, because doom is a long process – not a day of sudden apocalypse – and we were born right into it.

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